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KOH-I-NOOR

Written By Admin on Thursday, 7 June 2012 | Thursday, June 07, 2012

The diamond originated in the Kollur region of Guntur district in present day Andhra Pradesh, one of the world's earliest diamond producing regions, some time in the 13th century during the Kakatiya rule. This region was the only known source of diamonds until 1730 when diamonds were discovered in Brazil.

The valuation of the Koh-i-Noor is given in the legend that one of Nader Shah's consorts supposedly said, "If a strong man should take five stones, and throw one north, one south, one east, and one west, and the last straight up into the air, and the space between filled with gold and gems, that would equal the value of the Koh-i-noor."

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was crowned ruler of Punjab and willed the Koh-i-noor to the Jagannath Temple in Orissa from his deathbed in 1839. But after his death the British administrators did not execute his will. On 29 March 1849, the British raised their flag on the citadel of Lahore and the Punjab was formally proclaimed to be part of the British Empire in India. One of the terms of the Treaty of Lahore, the legal agreement formalising this occupation, was as follows:

"The gem called the Koh-i-Noor which was taken from Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk by Maharajah Ranjit Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England."

The Governor-General in charge of the ratification for this treaty was Lord Dalhousie. More than anyone, Lord Dalhousie was responsible for the British acquiring the Koh-i-Noor, in which he continued to show great interest for the rest of his life. Dalhousie's work in India was primarily aimed at appropriation of Indian assets for the use of the British East India Company.

Dalhousie arranged that the diamond should be presented by Maharaja Ranjit Singh's young successor, Duleep Singh, to Queen Victoria in 1850. Duleep Singh was the youngest son of Ranjit Singh and his fifth wife Maharani Jind Kaur. Duleep, aged 13, travelled to the United Kingdom to present the jewel. The presentation of the Koh-i-Noor to Queen Victoria was the latest in the long history of transfers of the stone as a spoil of war. Duleep Singh had been placed in the guardianship of Dr Login. Login was a surgeon in the British Army who served in West Bengal, East India for some years

The diamond is now set into the crown worn by the female consort to Monarch of the United Kingdom, and is currently in the Crown of Queen Elizabeth (the late Queen Mother).

India has claimed the diamond and have said that the Kohinoor was taken away illegally and it should be given back to India. When Elizabeth II made a state visit to India marking the 50th anniversary of Independence in 1997, many Indians in India and Britain including several Indian MPs demanded the return of the diamond.
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